You may be head over heels for your partner, thinking they would never do anything to hurt you. While intimacy in a relationship comes in many forms, if there’s one thing we all know, it is that intimacy is never meant to be abusive. Before we dig deep into spotting out the signs of gaslighting, it’s important to understand what gaslighting is.
What is Gaslighting?
“To gaslight” someone is defined as someone who undermines and attempts to alter another person’s reality. This is achieved by denying facts and feelings. The purpose of gaslighting is to manipulate someone into thinking that their feelings and thoughts are untrue. By doing so, the victim doubts themselves and gives control to the gaslighter.
Gaslighting is a form of abuse as the victim loses a sense of identity and self-worth. Someone who gaslights tends to have narcissistic and sociopathic qualities as their goal is simply to gain power and control over another.
Can a Gaslighter Change?
Good question. You may love your partner and are hoping that by having them recognize their behavior, they’ll be able to change. Now, I don’t want to say it’s impossible. However, people who gaslight tend to have antisocial personality traits that are extremely hard to overcome unless that person is aware of their condition.
How Can You Tell if You're a Victim of Gaslighting?
Many people who are being gaslighted don’t actually realize it’s happening to them. These people are victims of gaslighting emotional abuse. Here are some of the signs you may be a victim of gaslighting emotional abuse:
- You find you’re often feeling confused or crazy.
- You make excuses for your partner’s behavior.
- You feel that there’s something wrong in your relationship, but you can’t identify it.
- You’re constantly second-guessing yourself.
- You struggle making even the simplest of decisions.
- You miss the person who you used to be.
- You ask yourself if you’re too sensitive about how you’re feeling.
- You’re always apologizing to people without need.
- You’re unhappy even though you have positive things happening to you.
The 7 Must-Know Sign of Gaslighting in Relationships
- Your partner denies when they did something wrong: even when you have evidence. For them, it doesn’t matter. A gaslighter will lie right to your face no matter what.
- Your partner’s words and actions don’t align: they say one thing, but they mean the other. And you know this because their actions and words don’t match. Always pay attention to their actions because that is the truth.
- You’re always accused of lying: A gaslighter will make sure that you’re the one who has the problem and not them. You need to be the crazy one, and for that, they’ll frame you to make you look like a liar.
- Your partner accuses you of doing bad things frequently: This is their attempt at trying to project their problems onto you. More importantly, they make you prove to them that you’re not doing anything wrong.
- Your partner tries to be the only person you need: A gaslighter will try to remove all your loved ones out of your life for full control. They’ll try to convince you that they’re the only person you need. That’s a huge red flag.
- Your partner chooses when and how they’ll connect with you: They decide what they’re going to connect with you on. Why? Because they can have full control over the topic and what they’re going to tell you in order to gain more control.
- Your partner tells you that you’re crazy: You’re always crazy. Whenever you bring up a problem or concern, you’re the crazy one; it’s never them.
How to Handle Being Gaslighted
Do you really need to “handle” a gaslighter? If you feel you’re a victim of gaslighting, the first thing you need to do is seek therapy. A therapist can help you understand your situation and help you decide on your next step.
While you may have feelings for this person, if they’re gaslighting you, it will not get better until they choose to work on themselves. If your partner wants therapy, go to intimacy counseling with your partner.
Most gaslighters aren’t interested in seeking help, and if that’s the case with your partner, it’s best to walk away then continue receiving their emotional abuse. While you may be torn to walk away, this is not a sign of intimacy in a relationship. It’s abuse.